The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) agreed Thursday to a request from Stop & Shop representatives to postpone the company’s next public hearing from February 20 to March 20.
Greg O’Brien, a consultant for Stop & Shop, said the decision to postpone was made to give Tisbury time to discuss the town parking lot adjacent to the market. Town officials are considering possible redesigns, which include removal of the public restrooms. All of the possibilities would have a bearing on the company’s offers to the town.
“We feel the parking lot is an essential part of the proposal, and we want to wait for their recommendations,” Mr. O’Brien told The Times Monday. “They’re going to be meeting in the weeks to come, but we need those recommendations in order to move forward.”
During the discussion that preceded the vote to postpone Thursday, commissioner Lenny Jason of Chilmark, the Dukes County appointee, suggested that the MVC move to deny Stop & Shop’s application altogether and send the company back to the start of the regulatory gauntlet.
In a followup conversation Tuesday, asked whether it is fair to the applicant and to the public to start the regulatory process over again, Mr. Jason stood by his comments.
“Yes, I did say that,” Mr. Jason said. “We continue to listen to this proposal piecemeal. We continue to change our lives to meet and not break the quorum. I think they should come back to us with a completed application. Why not listen to a complete proposal? Nothing is being gained by continuing to put it off.”
At their hearing on January 27, commissioners and Stop & Shop representatives said they were ready to see the hearing process come to a close, but a snowstorm that week had prevented a Tisbury planning and design committee, established to address issues surrounding the town parking lot, from meeting to discuss the applicant’s most recent offers to address town concerns.
The next hearing will mark the seventh since the public hearing process began in July.
Stop & Shop plans to consolidate three abutting properties and remove the existing buildings, to make room for a new, two-story, 30,500-square foot market, nearly doubling the size of the current Water Street store. The new store would include a parking lot for 41 vehicles in an enclosed area on the ground level.